Hawaii is at a greater risk because of our diverse ethnic population. Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders have an increased risk for diabetes due to the lower BMI threshold that indicates pre-diabetes for their ethnic groups.
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You might be at risk for Diabetes if you…
- Have a family history of diabetes
- Although having a genetic predisposition for diabetes could make you more susceptible, it certainly does not indicate that you will become diabetic. Talk to your doctor about how having a family history could impact your health.
- Are classified overweight or obese
- Eat an unhealthy, unbalanced diet
- Lead a sedentary lifestyle
Diabetes is a disease that indicates your body is having trouble with a hormone called insulin. Insulin helps regulate and store sugar and fat in your body from the foods and liquids you ingest. There are different types of diabetes, which indicate different problems with insulin. Take a look below for the details on each type.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes, previously named Juvenile Diabetes, is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. This form of diabetes means that the pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin to regulate the glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream. Insulin is needed to carry the glucose from the bloodstream to the cells, where it is then used as energy.
Individuals diagnosed with this form of diabetes need insulin injections in order for their body to function as needed. There is currently no cure for this form of diabetes, although it can be managed with regular insulin therapy, healthy lifestyle choices, and doctor check-ups.
Symptoms for Type 1 Diabetes:
*These symptoms can occur suddenly and can be severe.
- Increased thirst
- Increased hunger (especially after eating)
- Persistent dry mouth
- Frequent urination
- Unexplained weight loss (even if eating regularly and feeling hungry)
- Blurred vision
- Labored, heavy breathing
- Loss of consciousness (rare)
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. This form of diabetes means that there is a problem in the way the body is producing or interacting with glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream. The pancreas could not be producing enough insulin for the body, or the insulin is not being used as it should and glucose cannot be carried into the cells (also called insulin resistance).
Individuals diagnosed with this form of diabetes are often prescribed oral medications in the form of pills, insulin, or a combination of both. However, depending on the severity of the disease, most individuals can manage their Type 2 diabetes with healthy eating and exercise.
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes:
*Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes can also include symptoms for Type 1, in addition to the list below, and are most often a gradual development.
- Slow-healing sores or cuts
- Itching of the skin (often in the groin region)
- Yeast infections
- Recent weight gain
- Numbness or tingling of the hands and feet
- Impotence or erectile dysfunction
This type of diabetes is triggered during pregnancy, usually around the 24th week, due to an increase in glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream. The body is not able to make and use the proper amounts of insulin during pregnancy due to hormone changes. This condition can occur in women who did not have diabetes prior to getting pregnant, and it does not mean the diabetes will continue after childbirth.
Pregnant women who have an increased risk for gestational diabetes are those who are:
- Over 25 years old
- Are classified overweight or obese before pregnancy
- Have a family history of diabetes
- Are part of an ethnic group that has a low BMI threshold for diabetes
Women with this type of diabetes have a 35%-60% chance of developing type 2 diabetes within 20 years, According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).
Talk to your doctor about how you can manage diabetes for you and your baby. Left unchecked, gestational diabetes can cause complications for both mother and baby.
Pre-Diabetes (Also called Borderline Diabetes)
This stage indicates that blood glucose (sugar) levels are higher than they should be, but not high enough to qualify as diabetes. This condition indicates an increased risk for type 2 diabetes; usually changes in diet and exercise can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes.
Talk to your doctor about how pre-diabetes impacts you.
Can Diabetes be prevented? What can I do?
Healthy lifestyle habits can prevent or significantly reduce most Diabetic symptoms. They include…
- Having a balanced nutrient-rich diet
- Studies have indicated wheat and glucose to be the start of many complications within the body. Ask your doctor about paleo and reduced- carbohydrate diet options, or other recommendations that could work for you.
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Avoiding heavy alcohol intake
- Talking to your doctor about how your lifestyle choices or family history could affect your body